Mustangs snatch victory at the death

Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)

IMG_2691Ben Njie delivered a last gasp goal to secure three points for Mitchelton in a 1-0 win over Holland Park Hawks in the opening round of the Brisbane Premier League.

Mitchelton came into the match with a heavy injury toll exacerbated by mid-week departures of Paul Swithenbank and club captain Michael McGowan.

The visitors almost conceded in the opening minute when Mark Rasmussen delivered into the box for Marek Madel who was dispossessed before he could get a shot away.

Holland Park was awarded a free kick. Dan Smith catching the defence off-guard by taking the kick quickly with it clattering onto the crossbar.

That wasn’t the end of the threats coming from the newcomers. Andrew MacAskil made an unguarded run down the left, crossed in for Dean Briggs who headed towards goal but was thwarted by a brilliant save from Mitchie keeper Kevin Downes.

If Hawks had the better of play in the first fifteen minutes, it was Mitchelton’s for next the next quarter of an hour.

The Mustangs first chance of the match came when Steven Chester attempted to play provider for Njie. The Hawks defence scrambling out for a corner.

Njie and Chester combined once again, the former having his shot saved by Matt Carr but only into the path of Chester who shot high over the bar.

Yet another momentum shift would occur in the final fifteen minutes of the half. Mitchelton cleared a Hawks corner off the line with ten to play before another last ditch clearance from Nick Benardi in front of Madel.

Briggs had two chances in the final five minutes to send his side into halftime but ultimately the match would be scoreless at the break.

Chances were few and far between in the opening fifteen minutes after the restart before the Hawks began to wrestle control of the game.

Holland Park had a succession of opportunities, most notably Jake Kallis who hit the upright and Briggs who was denied by Downes.

When it seemed destined to go the distance without worrying the scoreboard attendant, substitute Tim Lawson delivered a cross for Njie to steal the three points for the visitors.

With the week they had, Mitchelton will be thrilled to take the three points away from home while Holland Park coach Ben Ryan will rue not being able to claim at least one point in a match that his team dominated.

Holland Park will meet Lions away next week while Mitchelton hosts Easts.

Holland Park 0 v Mitchelton 1 (Ben Njie 90′) 

Holland Park: Matt Carr (GK), Marek Madel, Mark Rasmussen, Sam Roper, Dean Briggs, Andrew MacAskill, Dan Smith, Gary Anderson (Pablo Aviles 52’), Jake Kallis, Jeff Woodward, Phil Cave (Ashley Shore 90’). Subs not used: Morlee Connah, Jack Cabassi, Jono Burrowes (RGK).

Mitchelton: Kevin Downes, Esala Masi (Jack Panter 78’), Lewis Teevan, Jackson Stubbins (Daniel Wilson 65’), Jeremy Griffin, Josh McVey (Tim Lawson 84’), Nick Benardi, Jacob Mitchell, Gabriel Sarasol, Steven Chester, Ben Njie. Subs not used: Lachlan Munn, Damon Wench (RGK)